Potato Burger Buns

buns1

These are super easy to make and I really enjoy working with the dough. They hold up well to what ever you end up putting on them whether it’s saucy pulled pork, a juicy hamburger or a grilled chicken sandwich. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Burger Buns – adapted from BakerStreet

  • 4 cups (480 grams) bread flour
  • 2¼ tsp (7 grams) dry yeast
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 whole egg
  • ½ cup mashed potatoes
  • 4 tbsp butter diced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ cup lukewarm water
  • 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tsp water (optional)
 Directions –
In a mixing bowl sift the flour. Make a well in the middle and pour ¼ cup lukewarm water. Sprinkle the yeast and leave at room temperature until the yeast is dissolved and it foams, like a sponge. When the yeast is proofed, add the egg, mashed potatoes, butter and salt. If you’re using a stand up mixing, with the dough hook on, start mixing slowly adding ½ cup water and keep mixing until the dough comes clean from the sides of the bowl.

If you’re mixing by hand, use a Danish whisk or a wooden spoon and slowly add water in the middle of the flour mixture until the dough is formed. Take the dough out of the bowl (no mater if you’re using a stand-up mixer or a Danish whisk) and place it on a floured working surface. Knead by hand until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 5-7 minutes. Place the dough into a floured or oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and leave at room temperature until doubled in volume.

Take the dough out of the bowl, place it on a floured surface and divide it into 8-12 buns, depending on how small/big you want the buns. Place the buns on a baking sheet, cover and leave at room temperature until almost doubled in size.

Meanwhile heat the oven to 375F. Just before putting the buns in the oven, brush them with egg wash (egg yolk mixed with water) Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Leave to cool slightly before removing them from the baking sheet. You can store the buns in the fridge or in the freezer. When ready to use again, just heat the oven to 350F and place the buns in the oven for few minutes until warm. Or you can microwave them for few seconds.

Advertisements

Pumpkin Waffles

waffle2

School starts back up tomorrow, and my girl is already asking me what I’m making for breakfast…now, I’m not one of those super moms who send their kids off with a hot breakfast every morning, but I can get a few of these in the oven! 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pumpkin Waffles – slightly adapted from Epicurious

  • 1 1/2 cups AP flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup well-shaken buttermilk
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin
  • 3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
  • Vegetable oil for brushing waffle iron or cooking spray

Directions –

Preheat oven to 250°F and preheat waffle iron. Sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl with buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined.

In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold them gently into the waffle batter, until just combined.

Brush waffle iron lightly with oil and spoon batter into waffle iron, spreading quickly. Cook according to manufacturer’s instructions.

Transfer waffles to rack in oven to keep warm and crisp.

Zuppa Toscana and Breadsticks

zuppatoscana

Is there anything more comforting than a rich soup and fresh baked bread? This is seriously good, and even my picky daughter loved this. That’s always a win in my book when I don’t have to tell/nag her to eat more of dinner. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Zuppa Toscana – adapted from Annie’s Eats

  • 1 pound Italian sausage (I used chicken sausage)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup white wine for deglazing
  • 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 cups fresh kale, chopped
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper

Directions –

Place a large stock pot on the stove over medium heat. Crumble the sausage into the pan and cook until well browned. Remove the cooked sausage from the pot with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl; set aside. Add the chopped onion to the pan and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes to the pan and cook for a minute more, just until fragrant. Add the wine to the pot and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to loosen any browned bits. Add the potatoes, kale, chicken stock and water to the pot. Increase the heat to med-high, bring to boil and the reduce to a simmer. Cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork-tender and cooked through. Stir in heavy cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

breadstick

Almost Famous Bread Sticks – adapted from Food Network

  • 1 package yeast
  • 4 1/4 cups AP flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter,softened
  • 2 tablespoons raw sugar
  • 1 tablespoon fine salt

For the Topping:

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon true garlic powder
  • Pinch of dried oregano

Directions –

Make the dough: Place 1/4 cup warm water in the bowl of a mixer; sprinkle in the yeast and set aside until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, fine salt and 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons warm water; mix with the paddle attachment until a slightly sticky dough forms, 5 minutes.

Knead the dough by hand on a floured surface until very smooth and soft, 3 minutes. Roll into a 2-foot-long log; cut into 16 1 1/2-inch-long pieces. Knead each piece slightly and shape into a 7-inch-long breadstick; arrange 2 inches apart on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover with a cloth; let rise in a warm spot until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Make the topping: Brush the breadsticks with 1 1/2 tablespoons of the butter and sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt. Bake until lightly golden, about 15 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt with the garlic powder and oregano. Brush the warm breadsticks with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with the flavored salt.

Pizza Dip

pizzdip1

If I was going to have to watch football, I was going to make up for it by enjoying some junk food at the same time 😉 I was pretty excited to find all the necessary ingredients in my fridge to make this, and just enough pizza sauce and pepperoni left in the freezer. The only thing I didn’t have on hand was a baguette, but tortilla chips were a fine substitute. This came together quickly, and the measurements aren’t too important to follow exactly (“There’s too much cheese in this” – said no one ever!) Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Pizza Dip – adapted from Closet Cooking

  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup mozzarella, grated (divided)
  • 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano, grated (divided)
  • 1 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 ounces pepperoni, sliced
  • fresh cracked pepper to taste
  • dried oregano (optional)
  • sliced baguette or chips for serving

Directions –

  1. Mix the cream cheese, sour cream mayonnaise, half of the mozzarella, half of the parmigiano reggiano and pepper to taste. Spread it across the bottom of a pie plate.
  2. Spread the pizza sauce on top and sprinkle on the rest of the cheeses and pepperoni. Sprinkle oregano over top if desired.
  3. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the sides are bubbling and the cheese has melted and turned golden brown on top, about 20 minutes.

Creamy Tomato Soup

image

Quick Post: As a kid, I hated tomato soup…but that was the condensed kind, so I had every right! 😉 Because of that bad experience, I have only recently tried tomato soup again. I was a little obsessed with Panera’s creamy tomato soup and adult grilled cheese, and decided that I needed to recreate that meal at home. This batch makes quite a lot of soup, but it freezes beautifully! My kids loved this and agree that I need to make it again 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Creamy Tomato Soup –

  • 2 TBSP olive oil or butter
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 – 28 ounce cans of whole peeled tomatoes (San Marzano or other good quality is best)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp. raw sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Parmesan cheese, optional

*Special Equipment – immersion blender, food processor or blender

Directions –

1. Heat up oil or butter in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic (if using), stirring constantly, until soft and translucent, about 3 minutes.

2. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme and stock. Season with salt and pepper and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

3. Remove the thyme, and carefully puree the soup. ( I used my immersion blender in the pot, while using the pot lid as a shield 😉 It worked great!).

4. Whisk in cream; season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with Parmesan if desired.

Challah

I had a hankerin’ for some rich, fluffy French toast, but there is a shortage of bread in my house. I failed miserably (twice) trying to braid the dough, so I baked off two 8×4 loaves instead. The dough held up well to being manipulated more than I intended 😉 With its medium density, and tight crumb it soaks up custard like a sponge without falling apart; and the resulting French toast is creamy and not too sweet. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Challah – adapted from Williams-Sonoma

  • 2 packages (5 tsp.) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (105° to 115°F)
  • 1/2 cup sugar (*I used vanilla sugar*)
  • 3 eggs, plus 1 egg, beaten, for glaze
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour (625 grams)
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room
    temperature

Directions –

To make the dough with a stand mixer, in the 5-quart bowl of a mixer, dissolve the yeast in the warm water and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Add the sugar, 3 eggs, 4 1/2 cups of the flour, the salt and butter. Place the bowl on the mixer, attach the dough hook and knead on low speed, working in the remaining flour as necessary to keep the dough from being too sticky, until the dough is smooth and elastic, 5 to 7 minutes. Do not be tempted to add too much flour. The dough should stay soft and will become less sticky with kneading. Remove the dough from the bowl.

Form the dough into a ball and transfer it to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free spot until it doubles in bulk, about 2 hours.

Line a half-sheet pan or rimless baking sheet with parchment paper. Punch down the dough. Using a plastic pastry scraper, scrape the dough out onto a clean work surface. To make a 4-strand braid, cut the dough into 4 equal pieces with a sharp knife or a bench scraper. Using your palms, and starting in the center and working outward, elongate 1 piece by rolling it gently against the work surface with even pressure until you have formed a rope as long as the prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 3 pieces.

Line up the 4 strands in front of you horizontally. Cross the strand farthest from you across the other 3 strands so that it is nearest you. Cross the strand that is now next to it across the other 2 strands away from you. Position the outside strands so that they are away from the center ones, and position the center 2 strands perfectly horizontal. Bring the strand nearest you down between the 2 horizontal strands. Bring the strand farthest from you up and across to the opposite side. Again, bring the strand farthest from you down between the 2 straight strands. Bring the strand nearest you up and across to the opposite side. Starting from the strand nearest you, repeat the braiding until you reach the ends of the ropes. Pinch them together at the top and at the bottom, and tuck the strands under at the ends.

Place the braided loaf on the prepared pan, cover with a dry kitchen towel, and let rise again in a warm, draft-free spot until the loaf doubles in size and is spongy to the touch, 45 to 60 minutes.

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven and preheat to 350°F.

Brush the braid gently with the beaten egg and sprinkle with the seeds. Bake the braid until it is nicely browned and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Makes 1 large braided loaf.

Perfect Au Gratin Potatoes

augratin1

The name says it all – these really are perfect! They are the easiest potato side dish I have ever made and I’m finding new excuses to make them. We enjoyed these alongside this roast chicken and these garlicky green beans. The leftovers heat up nicely too – if there are any! Thanks for reading, enjoy 🙂

Perfect Potatoes Au Gratin – adapted from The Pioneer Woman

  • 4 whole Russet Potatoes, Scrubbed Clean
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter, Softened
  • 1-1/2 cup Heavy Cream
  • 1/2 cup Whole Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons Flour
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Finely Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • freshly Ground Pepper, to taste
  • fresh thyme to taste (my addition…so yummy)
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions –

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Smear softened butter all over the bottom of a baking dish.

Slice potatoes, then cut slices into fourths.

In a separate bowl, whisk together cream, milk, flour, minced garlic, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper.

Place 1/3 of the potatoes in the bottom of the baking dish. Pour 1/3 of the cream mixture over the potatoes.

Repeat this two more times, ending with the cream mixture. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 20 minutes, or until potatoes are golden brown and really bubbling. Add grated cheese to the top of the potatoes and bake for 3 to 5 more minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbly.

Brined, Roasted Chicken with Herb Butter

brinedchickens1

Yum! This was worth the effort and my neighbors, aka The Guinea Pigs, loved it too. It is way better than your average roast chicken and perfect for company. I prepared two, four pound chickens for dinner and we all enjoyed the white meat. It was the most succulent and tender meat I have ever had – like buttah! 😉 I’m going to use the dark meat for chicken noodle soup once I make the chicken stock with the bones. If there is any meat left, then M can have it for his fave chicken salad sandwich. I will make this again for my family when I’m feeling extra generous…or I just want really amazing roast chicken. Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Brined and Roasted Chicken with Herb Butter – heavily adapted from Ad Hoc at Home via Jun-Blog

Brine:

  • 20 cups water, divided
  • 3/4 cup Kosher salt
  • 5 TBSP sugar
  • 1 bunch thyme
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 6 cloves garlic, halved at equator
  • 1 lemon, halved
  • 5 bay leaves
  • 2 TBSP peppercorns
  • 2 whole chickens

Herb Butter:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature (freeze the leftover herb butter)
  • 1 TBSP fresh, chopped rosemary
  • 1 TBSP fresh, chopped thyme
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper

*special equipment –

brining bag, or a two gallon Ziploc bag, kitchen string, probe thermometer, roasting pan or half sheet pan

Directions –

Add all the brine ingredients and half the water to a large pot. Bring to boil, and stir to dissolve salt, then remove from heat and chill completely. Once brine is cold, add the remaining water and chicken then refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight.

Meanwhile, prepare the herb butter – in a small bowl, mix together the softened butter and fresh herbs. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Next, remove the chicken from the brine, rinse and pat dry. If you have time, let chickens dry uncovered in the refrigerator for a few hours. Truss chickens and coat generously with the herb butter, (I only used a few tablespoons per chicken). Add salt and pepper to taste and place in roasting pan, insert probe thermometer into the thickest part of one of the breasts. Roast the chicken until the thermometer reads 160-165 degrees, (about 70-75 minutes with my convection roast setting).

Once the desired temperature is reached, loosely cover with foil and let rest for 15-20 minutes. Carve, serve and enjoy!

Lettuce Wraps

lettucewraps

My family loved these – well, the DH liked the flavor but there are a few ingredients in these that he could do without. When I decided to make these, I knew that was a possibility so I cut back on those foods: water chesnuts and red bell pepper. I wanted a higher meat to extras ratio anyway so it worked out really well. I will make these again, but on those nights when M isn’t around for dinner 😉 Thanks for reading, enjoy!

Chicken or Pork Lettuce Wraps – adapted form Serious Eats

6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup hoisin sauce (about a 10-ounce container)
4 tablespoons oil, divided
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
1 pound ground chicken or pork
1 red pepper, finely diced
1 carrot, peeled and finely diced
1 medium red potato, finely diced
1 8-ounce can sliced water chesnuts, chopped
Black pepper, sea salt and chili flakes to taste
Romaine lettuce leaves, or Bibb lettuce

Directions –

In a small saucepan or skillet, combine half the garlic and the hoisin sauce. Over medium heat, reduce the sauce until thickened and beginning to turn syrupy, 2-5 minutes depending on the pot used.

In the meantime, in a large (12-inch) skillet, heat half the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, ginger, and remaining garlic and sauté, stirring occasionally, until golden and soft. Add pork and break up with a wooden spoon. Cook, stirring occasionally, until all the moisture has evaporated and the pork is cooked through and tender.

In a second skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat until shimmering and add the carrot and potato. Cook until almost tender, then add pepper and water chestnuts and cook for a few minutes longer. Add this mixture to the pork along with the reduced hoisin sauce. Stir well to coat the pork and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Set out the pork and serve with lettuce leaves.

Best of 2012, Part 1

Happy New Year! I decided that since I have had this blog going for some time now, I should go back into the archives and share with you all which recipes are my favorites. In addition, I want to showcase a couple of my most popular posts from this year. I would never guess that my blog would have so many visitors in such a short amount of time. Thanks to Pinterest and a few other blogs; one recipe receives hundreds, and sometimes a thousand or more hits a day!

1g

Alfredo, Shells, Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese – It’s the picture that sells this one, for sure! (I really need to get my camera fixed). As soon as I uploaded this to Pinterest, it hasn’t stopped being my most popular post. This is probably the easiest and most customizable recipe I have here, and thankfully the people who have tried it enjoy it. To date, it has been pinned over 107,000 times!!

3

Roasted Garlic Bread – Hands down, this is the best garlic bread! Everyone loves it! To date, it has been pinned over 10,000 times – not exactly a close second, but impressive for being viewed only 13,000 times!

20120521_122033

Carrot Ginger Dressing – I double this recipe whenever I make it and it would be a mistake not to. The vibrant orange screams “healthy”,  and is perfect for your simple salads.

That’s it for now! I have over 20 favorite recipes from last year and I may have to narrow that down a bit 🙂 Thanks for reading, enjoy!